Kobo is continuing to push its e-book content and electronic readers into new territory with an agreement with Fairmont Hotels to provide loaner eReaders to guests of its Fairmont Gold properties. Guests can pick up a Kobo eReader loaded with bestsellers from Random House to read for the duration of their stay at the hotel. The readers are available at select Fairmont Gold properties in the U.S. and Canada.
This partnership is interesting, as Kobo is entrenched in an intense competition with Barnes & Noble (s bks) and Amazon (s amzn) for e-book sales in its online store. The Kobo eReader is sold via the company’s website, as well as in Borders (s bgp) stores. While this deal with Fairmont may not generate great exposure for the Kobo platform, it’s likely the first of other planned partnerships.
Random House is one big publisher absent from the Apple (s aapl) iBookstore, and this deal with Kobo is an obvious effort to push a non-Apple platform with its content. Fairmont guests who use a loaner eReader at the hotel are given a special offer of $2 off select Random House e-book titles upon checkout.
Individual hotels have offered loaner e-Readers, but this is the first major hotel chain to do so. The Hotel Gansevoort in New York has loaned Sony Readers (s sne) for a year. The EPIC hotel in Miami and the Hotel Alonquin in Manhattan also loan readers to guests. This might be a trend in digital book lending worth watching.
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Irrational Exuberance Over E-Books?